I first saw The Hunger in 1987 while I was living in Holland. I’d spied it in a local video shop that catered to the Americans stationed at the little Air Base there. I fallen in love with Catherine Deneuve after I’d seen her in the black and white Polanski film Repulsion. That was the only reason I’d picked that video to watch. That it dealt with ‘modern’ vampires and had David Bowie and Susan Sarandon in it as well, was a bonus.
Back then I didn’t know who Tony Scott was. Oh I knew of his brother Ridley. You know the story, started making award winning commercials and then made the leap to feature films. Ridley was the Midas of celluloid. While Ridley was busy setting the film world on fire, Tony was fine tuning his directorial skills on music videos and commercials.
The Hunger did not do well at the box office (although now it is a cult classic) and Tony Scott then made the iconic Tom Cruise vehicle Top Gun and he was then considered an action film auteur and that is how he made his living. I cannot refute that he was very good working in the action genre but I think he was trapped there. I loved The Hunger and that is the film I most associate with him.
The Hunger was adapted from the Whitley Strieber novel and it tells the story of the vampire Miriam (Deneuve) and her ‘partner’ John (Bowie). Miriam had ‘turned’ John and although he has vampire ‘powers’ he is inexplicably growing old. Fast. It turns out that this is the fate of all of Miriam’s lovers, she has an attic full of undead corpses who are anciently old but cannot die, John will soon join them.
John goes to see a doctor, Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon) who specializes in premature ageing. John leaves before Sarah can treat him. She is horrified to see how quickly he has aged and she goes to the home that he shares with Miriam. As soon as Miriam meets Sarah it is love at first sight and John is soon relegated to the attic.
Miriam then ‘turns’ Sarah who isn’t happy with this turn of events. Sarah then decides to leave Miriam who doesn’t want her to go.
The Hunger was dark, daring, different and sensual. At that time in film-land vampires were Christopher Lee or Louis Jourdan or even Jack Palance ( as Count Yorga) et al. In those films vampires were interested in controlling you and drinking you dry. Not only is Miriam female (and nothing like the Brides of Dracula) but she loved and she got lonely. Her partners, like the unfortunate John, always had to be replaced. As her lovers aged and the blood could no longer rejuvenate them, she was sad, but pragmatic.
Miriam knew that she must find another lover to turn or she would face eternity alone.
Tony Scott’s reputation was based on his finesse with the action genre. But I will always remember him for The Hunger. His debut film was one that, even though it was slow to catch on, went on to reach iconic cult status in the film world.
I have read that he had inoperable brain cancer. When I read that, his demise made more sense. I am not sure what I would do if I received that sort of news. Scott’s decision was personal and private and I respect that.
Just as I respected him as a film maker.
Rest in peace Tony. Like so few other folks in this world, you brought a lot to the party.
We’ll miss you.
*I”d like to thank John over at WRITTEN IN BLOOD for his brilliant review of True Romance a Tony Scott film that he felt summed the man’s talent up. His article prompted me to think of my Tony Scott film. So thank you John.*
- REMEMBERING TONY SCOTT: TRUE ROMANCE (WRITTEN IN BLOOD.COM)
- Hollywood reacts to the death of Tony Scott (kfwbam.com)
- Director Tony Scott Dead At 68 (screenrant.com)
- Tony Scott, RIP (lewrockwell.com)
- Tony Scott, 1944 – 2012 (nerdist.com)
- Tony Scott (1944 – 2012) (noeltanti.com)
- National News: Tony Scott: Obituary (coventrytelegraph.net)